Accessibility / Report Error

From Census to Academic Literature: The "Nonreligious" and the Brazilian Religious Field


This article analyzes the development of the notion “non-religious” as a census category and its incorporation into academic literature. We begin with a historical review through the Censuses, presenting the emergence and the refinement of the category “non-religious”. We then address the critique by researchers of religion on the census data and on the ways in which the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) developed the category. Furthermore, we problematize the framework given by academic literature to the growth of “non-religion” in recent decades in Brazil as a result of a series of dynamics concerning the Brazilian religious field. We intend to demonstrate that being “non-religious” in Brazil is perceived by scholars of religion as a religious perspective among the multiple options of the increasingly plural Brazilian religious field. Finally, we present some problems arising from such a framework for religious studies.

Census; Category; Non-Religion; Academic Literature; Brazilian Religious Field

Associação Nacional de Pós-Graduação e Pesquisa em Ciências Sociais - ANPOCS Av. Prof. Luciano Gualberto, 315 - sala 116, 05508-900 São Paulo SP Brazil, Tel.: +55 11 3091-4664, Fax: +55 11 3091-5043 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil